The placement of four Bailey bridges will allow officials to reopen a stretch of the Circunvalación, one of the busiest roads that loops around Costa Rica’s capital.
President Laura Chinchilla said that motorists would be able to use the road starting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. However, the section of road will be closed at night from 10 p.m.-5 a.m. as a safety precaution for construction workers.
Chinchilla inspected the site, along with National Roadway Council (CONAVI) Executive Director Cristian Vargas, before making the announcement.
The Bailey bridges cost ₡1.5 billion ($3 million) and are a temporary solution for the 75 meters of Circunvalación that were closed last August when a drainage ditch collapsed.
They will be in place for at least six months, while permanent bridges are built at a cost of ₡3.1 billion ($6.2 million).
Each of the new bridges has a capacity for 40 tons, and passage of heavy trucks will be regulated.
A construction contract for the permanent bridges was awarded to the company Codocsa/PC, the same one that built similar bridges on the General Cañas Highway, which connects San José with the province of Alajuela. Codocsa will work around the clock to finish the project on time.
The company generated controversy earlier this week when an investigation by Telenoticias Channel 7 reported that Codocsa had submitted the most expensive bid for the project in a public bidding process.
CONAVI officials noted that another company had pitched the project at ₡2.5 billion ($5 million). The claim is currently under study at the agency’s auditing department.
The collapse of a section of the Circunvalación forced the government to implement emergency measures to prevent traffic jams, such as opening new bus routes and modifying public workers’ schedules.
Chinchilla on Wednesday said public-sector schedules would remain unchanged through December. Officials also are eying new bus routes.